The Judge Told the Social Worker Who Sexually Abused a 13-year-old Boy in Her Care Over and Over Again

The Judge Told the Social Worker Who Sexually Abused a 13-year-old Boy in Her Care Over and Over Again

A social worker in Ohio could spend the next few years in prison for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy while she was working as a mental health counselor. The boy was her client.

The 24-year-old Payton Harleigh Shires admitted to four counts of sexual conduct with a child without permission, one count of making someone scared with a gun, and one count of intimidating a victim or witness in May.

Judge Mark Serrott of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas gave Shires a possible sentence of four years and nine months in state jail on Thursday. He added 253 days to his sentence for being detained before his trial. After 18 months, she might be able to get the judicial release for good behavior, which is like parole but requires her to go to therapy. The shamed social worker will be on controlled release for five years if she is not allowed to get out of jail early. She will also have to sign up as a sex offender every 180 days for 25 years after she gets out of jail.

A courtroom report from The Columbus Dispatch says that many things were said during the sentencing process.

Reports say that the judge thought Shires really felt bad about what she did and scolded the woman who was found guilty for breaking her trust.

He told her, “He was a child.” His goal was to get the help he needed.

A more angry letter from the boy’s mother was read out loud in court. She said that Shires’ actions had such a “devastating impact” on the family that they had lost faith in a system that was supposed to help them.

“Instead, Ms. Shires lied to him, groomed him, and sexually abused him,” the statement said. “I wish I hadn’t let you into my house.”

Shires was caught on her birthday in October 2023, not even four months after getting her license to work as a social worker.

They hired her right away after she got her license from the National Youth Advocate Program. The Columbus Police Department was told about her in late September 2023 because she was said to have admitted to abusing the boy while on the phone with his mother while police listened in.

During that call, the boy’s mother said she had seen texts from Shires to her son asking if she had seen the videos or messages or if they had been wiped. The police in Columbus would find out that those texts and tapes had not been deleted. A forensic study of the boy’s cellphone found more messages that were likely to be evidence, as well as at least one video of the child and the adult sexually acting together.

Later, when she was free on $500,000 bond, she went to the victim’s house with a gun and said that the boy’s mother “ruined her life” by telling the police about her. Threats to kill the mother and herself didn’t happen, but the situation did break some of the terms of her pretrial release.

The suspect, for her part, said “I’m sorry” and “thank you” to the victim’s mother on Thursday.

At the time she went to her mother’s house, she wasn’t thinking straight, she said. “I felt like killing myself a lot.” Nobody but myself was ever in my mind when I meant to hurt someone. Plus, I’m glad she did the right thing by calling the cops. That day, she saved my life. I feel terrible about the mistakes I made as well.

The judge was open to the defendant’s apologies, but was a little harsher when she talked about a point the defendant made at sentencing. When Shires asked for leniency, the victim was said to have tried to force or threaten her into continuing their illegal connection.

Serrott told her, “You’re the adult.” “It’s in your job description to stay away from situations like this.”

Source: Law&Crime

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